Options For Swimming With Whales

Started Jul 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
Ken Gosden Senior Member • Posts: 2,629
Re: Options For Swimming With Whales

A few extra bits of information from you would be helpful.  Have you snorkeled often?  Are you a good and confident snorkeler?  Since you are asking about all types of UW cameras I am guessing that you have never snorkeled with a camera before?

I have snorkeled with a number of older P&S cameras in cases (Minolta Dimage, Olympus C5050Z) and several older Olympus UW cameras similar to the current non-TG series.  I have also done one scuba dive and carried the Minolta in a case.  I own EWA Marine bag for my Olympus E series and an AquaPAC bag. The bags I bought to use when I kayak, not for swimming.

I would NOT recommend a DSLR in a bag or case for snorkeling.  Waterproofing is not the issue.  Swimming and control is the issue.  It is very challenging to control your position in the water with even a small UW camera in one hand.  A DSLR is a full two hand device.  The controls on even a dedicated UW case for a DSLR are a challenge to work.  In the bags they are nearly impossible. Even above the water in a kayak it can be tough to handle my E5 in either bag.  Zooming and focusing are further impeded by water pressure which is much greater than you might think as shallow as 3 feet.  If the bag is not setup with internal structures to keep pressure off the lens, then the lens will tend to collapse to its smallest length and forget about non-internal focusing lenses.

In even slight currents you will be far too busy trying the stay where you want to be to worry much about where you are aiming the camera.  Forget about trying to remember which button to press to change a setting.  Either way I would brace yourself for the likelihood that the UW camera you buy will probably suffer a seal failure at some point.  This can happen at anytime, but tends to be more common in the second or third year of ownership.  The seals do tend to dry or shrink over time.  In fact, if you read the details on the cameras you will likely find burying in manual a warning to replace those seals annually or so.  Both of my original SW1030's blew seals after 2-3 years.  One was fine under water and died while rinsing it in the sink after a day of snorkeling.  The other failed mid snorkel after its 10th or more dive over 3+ years.  That one came back to life after a thorough fresh water rinse and multiday drying.  I would use it in bad weather, but not dive with it again.  None of this will stop me from buying another UW camera, but I do it accepting the high risk and reward ratio.

 Ken Gosden's gear list:Ken Gosden's gear list
Olympus XZ-2 iHS Olympus Tough TG-3 Olympus E-5 Olympus E-M1 Olympus E-M1 II +21 more
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